Gen. Pervez Musharraf, born on August 11, 1943, in Mohallah Kacha Saad Ullah, Old Delhi. The son of a diplomat, Pervez Musharraf was raised in Karachi, Pakistan, and Istanbul, Turkey. He was a member of the Pakistan Military Academy's elite Artillery Regiment in the 1960s and fought in the 1965 war against India. Musharraf served as company commander of the Special Service Group Commando Battalion in the 1971 war with India. He worked his way up through the military and political ranks to become general and chief of army staff in 1998. Musharraf took over as Pakistan's president in a bloodless coup in 1999 and led the country until his resignation in 2008. Rise through the Ranks
From May to July 1999, Pakistan and India took up arms once again in what became known as the Kargil Conflict in the Kashmir area along the northern borders of India and Pakistan. The operation was planned and executed while Musharraf was Army chief of staff under Prime Minister Sharif. Kashmir militants with assistance from Pakistani soldiers took positions in Indian territory. They were soon discovered by the Indian army. Some reports indicate the Indian intelligence knew of their intentions weeks before the conflict. With the use of heavy artillery and night raids, the Indians slowly pushed back the militants and the Pakistani forces. The reversal was a complete blow to the Pakistani government, which had believed its forces had an advantage in the element of surprise. With Pakistani forces struggling in the field, national pride at stake, and many government officials beginning the blame game, the Pakistani army covertly planned a nuclear strike at India. But news of the plan reached U.S. President Bill Clinton, who gave Prime Minister Sharif a warning to stand down. Pakistan withdrew its forces, leaving the militants to be destroyed by the Indian army. Prime Minister Sharif claimed Pervez Musharraf was solely responsible for the Kargil debacle while Musharraf claimed Sharif was to blame. In any case, the incident was a total embarrassment for Pakistan, not to mention a loss of prestige, morale, blood and treasure. On October 12, 1999, Sharif attempted to dismiss Musharraf from his position as commander-in-chief of the Army, but senior Army generals, loyal to Musharraf and believing the prime minister was distancing himself from any responsibility for the military defeat, refused to accept Musharraf's dismissal. Musharraf was out of the country, but when word reached him of Sharif's orders, he immediately boarded a commercial airliner for Pakistan. Sharif ordered the Karachi airport closed to prevent Musharraf's plane from landing. The generals seized control of Sharif's administration and placed Sharif under house arrest. He was later exiled to Saudi Arabia. Musharraf arrived at the capital and took control of the government. The sitting president of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar, remained in office until June 2001, at which time Musharraf formally appointed himself president. Political Contests
Shortly after Musharraf's seizing of the government in 1999, several Pakistanis filed court petitions challenging his assumption of power. Musharraf had always claimed his intention was to institute democracy in Pakistan. But in the face of the threat from the court, he issued an order that required all judges to take new oaths of office and agree not to make any rulings against the military. Many judges resigned instead, calling the move unconstitutional. The Pakistani Supreme Court asked Musharraf to hold national elections by October 12, 2002. To ensure his continued control, Musharraf held a referendum on April 30, 2002, to extend his term of office another five years after the October elections. Musharraf's government claimed an 80 percent turnout in favor of the referendum, but election officials reported some irregularities—for which Musharraf apologized—and the decision to hold October elections stood. In October 2002, national...
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